New Release ~ MY CRUNCHY LIFE by Mia Kerrick

 

Title: My Crunchy Life

Author: Mia Kerick

Release Date: 26th June 2018

Genre: LGBT, Young Adult

 

 

BLURB

John Lennon fought for world peace, but sixteen-year-old hippie hopeful Kale Oswald’s only made it as far as tie-dying his T-shirts with organic grape juice. Now he’s ready to cement his new hippie identity by joining a local human rights organization, but he doesn’t fit in as well as he’d hoped.

After landing himself in the hospital by washing down a Ziploc bag of pills with a bottle of Gatorade, Julian Mendez came clean to his mother: he is a girl stuck in a boy’s body. Puberty blockers have stopped the maturing of the body he feels has betrayed him. They’re also supposed to give him time to be sure he wants to make a more permanent decision, but he’s already Julia in his heart. What he’s not sure he’s ready to face is the post-transition name-calling and bathroom wars awaiting him at school.

When Kale and Julian come face-to-face at the human rights organization, attraction, teenage awkwardness, and reluctant empathy collide. They are forced to examine who they are and who they want to become. But until Kale can come to terms with his confusion about his own sexuality and Julian can be honest with Kale, they cannot move forward in friendship, or anything more.

REVIEW:

I found this to be a slow-starter and put it aside for a bit but the story remained on my mind.  That is the most important thing about this story.  It makes you think and will stay on your mind.

When I was ready, I returned to Kalin and Julia/n.  This is the story of Julian/Julia and Kale whose meet at a human rights organization meeting and later discover that they attend the same high school.  Both are dealing with the usual teen stuff, self-identity, “Who am I?” versus “Who do I want to be?”  As if the usual teen angst isn’t enough, Julian is transitioning to become her true self, Julia.  The physical transition is only part of the evolution and Julia is having a tough time, emotionally and socially.  She is being bullied, stalked on social media.  She feels so strongly about her desire to transition that she will home-school for her own physical and emotional safety.  Her mother is supportive but her grandmother doesn’t understand so she doesn’t always feel supported although her mother’s support

Kale is trying to create his own identity, I say create as he is perpetually trying things (goth, nerd, hippy) out despite his pride in his self-proclaimed semi-lofty status in the periphery of the ‘beautiful people’.  His own family is a mosaic of disenchantment.  The dynamic is such that no one really engages with anyone else.  The parents aren’t parenting.

Kale is attracted to Julian/Julia but what does that mean?  Does it mean that he is gay since Julian’s sex is male or not gay since Julia’s identify is female?   What will that mean to his social standing?  It is one thing to see others being harassed, picked on but no one want’s to volunteer for that treatment which would happen if he started hanging out with Julia.  Julia is attracted to/interested in Kale but they are worlds apart socially at school and she is focusing on transitioning and staying safe.

You will think, worry and cry while reading this story.  The author presents an exceptional set of circumstances to demonstrate the identity challenges and feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness sometimes faced by youth while learning their place in the world and how they fit.  There really is room for everyone.  A truly important story.

 

Find My Crunchy Life at Goodreads

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | Harmony Ink

EXCERPT

Julian, 4: 00 p.m.

On my first day back to school after the incident, Sydney Harper, a junior from the right side of the tracks, cut me off in the hallway by the gym and got up in my face. “You didn’t really wanna die. My mother said it was just some kind of pathetic cry for help.” Having made her point, she spun around on her Ugg-booted nonheel and headed for the girls’ locker room.

Then in precalc, some guy I barely knew poked me hard in the back with a Sharpie marker, and I was the lucky recipient of another dose of compassion. “You just crave attention, don’t you, girly-boy?”

Maybe, on some level, they were both right.

But on that night in October when I decided my best move in life would be to wash down the last of the Extra Strength Tylenol in our medicine cabinet with a bottle of Citrus Cooler Gatorade, I knew I couldn’t lose, however it turned out. The alternative to my clever plan to get some attention, and maybe even a measure of help, was that I’d fall asleep and never wake up— which, in my opinion, served just fine as Plan B.

If nobody heard my “cry for help” and I checked out, we’d probably all be better off. No real harm done… except to Mama. But the freaking UPS man heard my “pathetic cry,” or more accurately saw my apparently lifeless torso hanging from the tree house in the side yard, and saved me.

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About the Author

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—a daughter in law school, another in dance school, a third studying at Mia’s alma mater, Boston College, and her lone son still in high school. She writes LGBTQ romance when not editing National Honor Society essays, offering opinions on college and law school applications, helping to create dance bios, and reviewing English papers. Her husband of twenty-four years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about this, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on emotional growth in turbulent relationships. As she has a great affinity for the tortured hero, there is, at minimum, one in each book. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with tales of said tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink Press for providing alternate places to stash her stories.

Her books have won a Best YA Lesbian Rainbow Award, a Reader Views’ Book by Book Publicity Literary Award, the Jack Eadon Award for Best Book in Contemporary Drama, an Indie Fab Award, and a Royal Dragonfly Award for Cultural Diversity, among other awards.

Mia is a Progressive, a little bit too obsessed by politics, and cheers for each and every victory in the name of human rights. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

Contact Mia at miakerick@gmail.com. Visit her website for updates on what is going on in Mia’s world, rants, music, parties, and pictures, and maybe even a little bit of inspiration.

Links: Facebook | Twitter

 

Please follow MainelyStories Reviews on Amazon | Audible | Goodreads

Follow me on my webpage MainelyStories and on Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Page.

Reviews Published Professional Reader Frequently Auto-Approved 50 Book Reviews

 

New Release Review of AUCTIONED by Cara Dee One of the most intense stories I’ve read this year from ~ the brilliant @CaraDeeWrites ! Presented by @ElizaRaeServices

Auctioned by Cara Dee

Title: Auctioned

Genre: Gay Romance  |  Pairing: Crime/Suspense  |

Amazon US: |  Amazon CAN | Amazon AUS  |  Amazon DE |  Amazon UK 

Goodreads:  |  Smashwords:  |  Paperback:  |

 

 

Synopsis:

Gray Nolan’s biggest problem in life was the torch he carried for his closeted coach. He was just another happy-go-lucky dude, a college student and hockey player, when his ordinary existence was interrupted, and he became a human trafficking statistic.

He and seven other young men were taken aboard a luxurious yacht where they were to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Gray was beaten, shattered, and almost defeated by the time his buyer stepped out of the shadows in a swirl of his own cigarette smoke.

He was Gray’s new owner.

Darius Quinn had vowed never again to find himself in a situation like this. His days as a private military contractor were over. No more missions, no more risks, no more personal attachments. Yet, here he was, after weeks of searching, face-to-face with his broken prize.

It was time to get the knucklehead back to his family.

Quick and easy was Darius’s plan.

Then everything went sideways.

 

Review by Mainely Stories:

An unforgettable, action-packed, intense story; probably the most intense story I’ve read this year.  The author, Cara Dee, deserves all the stars, the sun and the moon in recognition of this story.  This Review will be updated after I lock my doors and windows and when I can breathe again!

 

Excerpt:

They were saving Gray for last.

With each guy they hauled out of the room, he grew more despondent and withdrawn. He’d managed to get on his feet again, but he could barely move without an explosion of hurt unfurling inside him. So he stood silent, face impassive and smeared with blood, eyes unseeing, as another guy was up.

The worst part was when they screamed wherever they were. Gray guessed a deck or two above him.

Were they getting raped yet?

He knew it was coming.

He stiffened as the door opened once more, and this time, it was Cole’s turn. His features were set; he’d braced himself for whatever was to come. Or so Gray hoped. He couldn’t imagine any of them had a clue what they were in for.

Least of all Gray. Were they gonna kill him? He’d watched enough movies to know what “make an example of someone” usually meant.

Milo was next, and he looked pleadingly at Gray. “Please do something,” he whimpered. “I’ve never—I can’t—please, Gray. P-please!”

Gray clenched his jaw and said nothing, because what the fuck could he do? The door was shut, leaving him alone. He listened. He couldn’t not listen. Compelled and beating himself up, he strained his ears to hear every torturous plea.

It was quiet for some time, and then…then the screaming began. It mingled with muffled sobs and sharp, choking sounds. And low rumbles of laughter. There was even applause. Gray’s stomach revolted and tightened. Nausea crept higher and higher. Milo was being abused, and low-life perverts found that funny.

The world became a dark place for Gray. Hope had dwindled enough that he couldn’t see it anymore. He lost faith in humanity and sent a glance skyward as his eyes welled up. Mom, I love you. Gage, Gideon, Gabriel, Aiden, Isla, the little niece or nephew I never got to meet…I love you, and I’m sorry.

When the door was opened a final time, Gray was resigned. Benny stood there with sinister glee in his eyes, and of course, the brute wanted his fun, too. Gray accepted two fists to his face before he fell back against the wall, pain spreading like wildfire. Memories from better times that had been rolling past slowly gained speed as if he somehow knew time was running out.

Two men had to support Gray’s weight on the way out of the cabin. His head hung, flickers of memories battling against fatigue and hurt. He couldn’t see where they were going, and when they encountered a set of stairs, he stumbled and lurched. He focused on the faces of his family. Mostly, Mom and his three brothers. The recent additions were his stepdad—Aiden—his daughter Isla, and Isla’s fiancé, Jack. Gray loved the expansion of their family. The day he’d learned Isla was pregnant, he’d been so fucking thrilled. Now he’d never get to spoil his niece or nephew.

Something warm trickled down his face. He didn’t know if it was blood or tears. Maybe a combination of both.

Gray was shoved into a large room, and the first glance with blurry vision made it look empty. Then he blinked and noticed there were booths along the far wall. The lighting was poor and focused on the middle, shadows cast everywhere. And he didn’t care anymore. He gave up registering things.

“Your toy, sir,” Benny said gruffly.

Vanya approached from the sidelines with a playful little smile, and the meatheads dropped Gray in the middle of the floor. He swallowed hard, his bleary gaze getting stuck on spots of red on the gray carpet. Once he saw a couple splatters, he noticed more. They were all over the center of the floor. Blood, then blotches of darker gray—maybe tears, sweat. Semen. The room reeked of it. A long silk robe came into view, the red fabric dancing around Vanya’s feet. He squatted next to Gray and patted his head.

“There, there.” Vanya’s voice was still angelic and impossibly sweet. “Maybe we’ll get to play more in another life. Mother said you’re a bit of a moron.”

Jesus, he was deranged.

Red sauntered closer, her thin metal cane ready to be used if needed. She didn’t treat Gray as gently. Fisting his hair, she yanked him up on his knees, to which he hissed through clenched teeth.

They faced the darkened booths.

“Dear guests,” Red purred, “I value my customers more than anything, and I would never lie to you.” She slid the cane under Gray’s chin, lifting it slightly. “This young man is more trouble than he’s worth. Should you make a bid, you need to know you’ll be getting a mouthy, rebellious hellion.” With a sharp rap of the cane against his stomach, she ordered Gray to stand up.

He did so on wobbly legs. He’d reached his limit for torture for the moment and didn’t want another bruise to his name.

“If there are no buyers on this animal,” Red continued, “I’ll offer him up as a treat for anyone and everyone—provided that you don’t take him to your staterooms. He’ll be available here in the central den throughout our journey.” She paused. “Now. Let’s see if there are any takers first. Starting at two hundred thousand, this wild boy could be yours. He’s got gorgeous skin that scars nicely, doesn’t he?” She shifted the cane along Gray’s torso, and he swallowed against the vomit that rose. “As you can see on the menu, he is twenty-one years old and built for hot, sadistic grapples. He’s six feet tall, weighs in at one hundred and eighty-nine pounds, and has the temper of an Irishman. If you keep him chained, he could bring you immense pleasure for years.”

Gray steadied his breathing. Aside from a few barely there sounds of rustling and a throat clearing here and there, he wouldn’t know there were people sitting in the booths.

“Lovely abs…” The whisper came from Vanya. Gray had almost forgotten him. Then the psycho kid from hell was tracing the muscles on his lower stomach. “My last toy called them come gutters.” He giggled in delight.

Gray shuddered.

Someone coughed. “Two hundred.” That someone was British and had a meek voice.

“Ah, we have a bidder.” Red sounded both surprised and pleased. “Two hundred—”

“Two-fifty.”

Gray swung his tired gaze to the corner, the first booth there, and tried to see who it was. That man’s voice was like low thunder doused in whiskey.

“Two hundred and seventy-five,” the Brit said impatiently.

“Three hundred.”

“Well, well,” Red purred. “Three hundred for the handsome Mr. B.”

The British man got irritated. “Three hundred and twenty.”

“Three-fifty.”

Silence.

Red ordered Gray to kneel again, and he merely dropped.

There was an insufferable huff coming from the booth where Gray believed the British man sat, but nothing else.

Gray didn’t know what to think. This was his life. His freedom. Yet, two men were bidding on it. It was incomprehensible.

“Going once,” Red said in a teasing tone. After a pause, it was made clear. “Mr. B, the heathen is yours. We hope to enjoy your show.”

Oh fuck. Gray connected the dots. The auction was through, and once his life was no longer his own… It’d happened to the other guys. Eventually, he’d heard most of them scream in terror and agony.

A large man stepped out of the shadows in a swirl of his own cigarette smoke. Gray’s eyes flicked between his briefcase, bespoke suit, and cut jaw. The rest was hazy. He couldn’t focus. A headache was beginning to pull him under, and it was gonna be a big one. Mr. B didn’t speak. Under the low light, his brown hair took on a lighter shade.

A stool appeared, delivered by a goon who quickly backed off. The man who now supposedly owned Gray set his briefcase on the stool and flicked open the lid.

Red and Vanya backed away, too.

Gray had lost all his strength. He remained kneeling on the floor and averted his gaze. This was it.

Mr. B approached and stood before a defeated Gray. There was a grip on his jaw, and Gray was forced to look up. His double vision prevented him from registering anything other than a set of hazel eyes brimming with severity and determination. He swallowed weakly as the man dipped and leaned in close. There was a whisper in Gray’s ear.

“Forgive me.”

A heartbeat later, Gray took a hard blow to the temple that shot his head sideways and knocked him out.

 

About Cara:

 

I’m often stoically silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve. Additionally, I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.

Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.

I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and cupcakes, too. But mostly, I just love to write.

 

Website: https://www.caradeewrites.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caradeewrites/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cara-dee

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaraDeeWrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carawrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6936449.Cara_Dee

 

Please follow MainelyStories Reviews on Amazon | Audible | Goodreads

Follow me on my webpage MainelyStories and on Twitter | Facebook | Facebook Page.

Reviews Published Professional Reader Frequently Auto-Approved 50 Book Reviews

New Release Review for AUCTIONED by Cara Dee ~ One of the most intense stories I’ve read this year from the brilliant @CaraDee ! Presented by @ElizaRaeServices

Auctioned by Cara Dee

Title: Auctioned

Genre: Gay Romance  |  Pairing: Crime/Suspense  |

Amazon US: |  Amazon CAN | Amazon AUS  |  Amazon DE |  Amazon UK 

Goodreads:  |  Smashwords:  |  Paperback:  |

 

 

Synopsis:

Gray Nolan’s biggest problem in life was the torch he carried for his closeted coach. He was just another happy-go-lucky dude, a college student and hockey player, when his ordinary existence was interrupted, and he became a human trafficking statistic.

He and seven other young men were taken aboard a luxurious yacht where they were to be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Gray was beaten, shattered, and almost defeated by the time his buyer stepped out of the shadows in a swirl of his own cigarette smoke.

He was Gray’s new owner.

Darius Quinn had vowed never again to find himself in a situation like this. His days as a private military contractor were over. No more missions, no more risks, no more personal attachments. Yet, here he was, after weeks of searching, face-to-face with his broken prize.

It was time to get the knucklehead back to his family.

Quick and easy was Darius’s plan.

Then everything went sideways.

Review by Mainely Stories:

An unforgettable, action-packed, intense story; probably the most intense story I’ve read this year.  The author, Cara Dee, deserves all the stars, the sun and the moon in recognition of this story.  This Review will be updated after I lock my doors and windows and when I can breathe again!

Excerpt:

They were saving Gray for last.

With each guy they hauled out of the room, he grew more despondent and withdrawn. He’d managed to get on his feet again, but he could barely move without an explosion of hurt unfurling inside him. So he stood silent, face impassive and smeared with blood, eyes unseeing, as another guy was up.

The worst part was when they screamed wherever they were. Gray guessed a deck or two above him.

Were they getting raped yet?

He knew it was coming.

He stiffened as the door opened once more, and this time, it was Cole’s turn. His features were set; he’d braced himself for whatever was to come. Or so Gray hoped. He couldn’t imagine any of them had a clue what they were in for.

Least of all Gray. Were they gonna kill him? He’d watched enough movies to know what “make an example of someone” usually meant.

Milo was next, and he looked pleadingly at Gray. “Please do something,” he whimpered. “I’ve never—I can’t—please, Gray. P-please!”

Gray clenched his jaw and said nothing, because what the fuck could he do? The door was shut, leaving him alone. He listened. He couldn’t not listen. Compelled and beating himself up, he strained his ears to hear every torturous plea.

It was quiet for some time, and then…then the screaming began. It mingled with muffled sobs and sharp, choking sounds. And low rumbles of laughter. There was even applause. Gray’s stomach revolted and tightened. Nausea crept higher and higher. Milo was being abused, and low-life perverts found that funny.

The world became a dark place for Gray. Hope had dwindled enough that he couldn’t see it anymore. He lost faith in humanity and sent a glance skyward as his eyes welled up. Mom, I love you. Gage, Gideon, Gabriel, Aiden, Isla, the little niece or nephew I never got to meet…I love you, and I’m sorry.

When the door was opened a final time, Gray was resigned. Benny stood there with sinister glee in his eyes, and of course, the brute wanted his fun, too. Gray accepted two fists to his face before he fell back against the wall, pain spreading like wildfire. Memories from better times that had been rolling past slowly gained speed as if he somehow knew time was running out.

Two men had to support Gray’s weight on the way out of the cabin. His head hung, flickers of memories battling against fatigue and hurt. He couldn’t see where they were going, and when they encountered a set of stairs, he stumbled and lurched. He focused on the faces of his family. Mostly, Mom and his three brothers. The recent additions were his stepdad—Aiden—his daughter Isla, and Isla’s fiancé, Jack. Gray loved the expansion of their family. The day he’d learned Isla was pregnant, he’d been so fucking thrilled. Now he’d never get to spoil his niece or nephew.

Something warm trickled down his face. He didn’t know if it was blood or tears. Maybe a combination of both.

Gray was shoved into a large room, and the first glance with blurry vision made it look empty. Then he blinked and noticed there were booths along the far wall. The lighting was poor and focused on the middle, shadows cast everywhere. And he didn’t care anymore. He gave up registering things.

“Your toy, sir,” Benny said gruffly.

Vanya approached from the sidelines with a playful little smile, and the meatheads dropped Gray in the middle of the floor. He swallowed hard, his bleary gaze getting stuck on spots of red on the gray carpet. Once he saw a couple splatters, he noticed more. They were all over the center of the floor. Blood, then blotches of darker gray—maybe tears, sweat. Semen. The room reeked of it. A long silk robe came into view, the red fabric dancing around Vanya’s feet. He squatted next to Gray and patted his head.

“There, there.” Vanya’s voice was still angelic and impossibly sweet. “Maybe we’ll get to play more in another life. Mother said you’re a bit of a moron.”

Jesus, he was deranged.

Red sauntered closer, her thin metal cane ready to be used if needed. She didn’t treat Gray as gently. Fisting his hair, she yanked him up on his knees, to which he hissed through clenched teeth.

They faced the darkened booths.

“Dear guests,” Red purred, “I value my customers more than anything, and I would never lie to you.” She slid the cane under Gray’s chin, lifting it slightly. “This young man is more trouble than he’s worth. Should you make a bid, you need to know you’ll be getting a mouthy, rebellious hellion.” With a sharp rap of the cane against his stomach, she ordered Gray to stand up.

He did so on wobbly legs. He’d reached his limit for torture for the moment and didn’t want another bruise to his name.

“If there are no buyers on this animal,” Red continued, “I’ll offer him up as a treat for anyone and everyone—provided that you don’t take him to your staterooms. He’ll be available here in the central den throughout our journey.” She paused. “Now. Let’s see if there are any takers first. Starting at two hundred thousand, this wild boy could be yours. He’s got gorgeous skin that scars nicely, doesn’t he?” She shifted the cane along Gray’s torso, and he swallowed against the vomit that rose. “As you can see on the menu, he is twenty-one years old and built for hot, sadistic grapples. He’s six feet tall, weighs in at one hundred and eighty-nine pounds, and has the temper of an Irishman. If you keep him chained, he could bring you immense pleasure for years.”

Gray steadied his breathing. Aside from a few barely there sounds of rustling and a throat clearing here and there, he wouldn’t know there were people sitting in the booths.

“Lovely abs…” The whisper came from Vanya. Gray had almost forgotten him. Then the psycho kid from hell was tracing the muscles on his lower stomach. “My last toy called them come gutters.” He giggled in delight.

Gray shuddered.

Someone coughed. “Two hundred.” That someone was British and had a meek voice.

“Ah, we have a bidder.” Red sounded both surprised and pleased. “Two hundred—”

“Two-fifty.”

Gray swung his tired gaze to the corner, the first booth there, and tried to see who it was. That man’s voice was like low thunder doused in whiskey.

“Two hundred and seventy-five,” the Brit said impatiently.

“Three hundred.”

“Well, well,” Red purred. “Three hundred for the handsome Mr. B.”

The British man got irritated. “Three hundred and twenty.”

“Three-fifty.”

Silence.

Red ordered Gray to kneel again, and he merely dropped.

There was an insufferable huff coming from the booth where Gray believed the British man sat, but nothing else.

Gray didn’t know what to think. This was his life. His freedom. Yet, two men were bidding on it. It was incomprehensible.

“Going once,” Red said in a teasing tone. After a pause, it was made clear. “Mr. B, the heathen is yours. We hope to enjoy your show.”

Oh fuck. Gray connected the dots. The auction was through, and once his life was no longer his own… It’d happened to the other guys. Eventually, he’d heard most of them scream in terror and agony.

A large man stepped out of the shadows in a swirl of his own cigarette smoke. Gray’s eyes flicked between his briefcase, bespoke suit, and cut jaw. The rest was hazy. He couldn’t focus. A headache was beginning to pull him under, and it was gonna be a big one. Mr. B didn’t speak. Under the low light, his brown hair took on a lighter shade.

A stool appeared, delivered by a goon who quickly backed off. The man who now supposedly owned Gray set his briefcase on the stool and flicked open the lid.

Red and Vanya backed away, too.

Gray had lost all his strength. He remained kneeling on the floor and averted his gaze. This was it.

Mr. B approached and stood before a defeated Gray. There was a grip on his jaw, and Gray was forced to look up. His double vision prevented him from registering anything other than a set of hazel eyes brimming with severity and determination. He swallowed weakly as the man dipped and leaned in close. There was a whisper in Gray’s ear.

“Forgive me.”

A heartbeat later, Gray took a hard blow to the temple that shot his head sideways and knocked him out.

 

About Cara:

 

I’m often stoically silent or, if the topic interests me, a chronic rambler. In other words, I can discuss writing forever and ever. Fiction, in particular. The love story—while a huge draw and constantly present—is secondary for me, because there’s so much more to writing romance fiction than just making two (or more) people fall in love and have hot sex. There’s a world to build, characters to develop, interests to create, and a topic or two to research thoroughly. Every book is a challenge for me, an opportunity to learn something new, and a puzzle to piece together. I want my characters to come to life, and the only way I know to do that is to give them substance—passions, history, goals, quirks, and strong opinions—and to let them evolve. Additionally, I want my men and women to be relatable. That means allowing room for everyday problems and, for lack of a better word, flaws. My characters will never be perfect.

Wait…this was supposed to be about me, not my writing.

I’m a writey person who loves to write. Always wanderlusting, twitterpating, kinking, and geeking. There’s time for hockey and cupcakes, too. But mostly, I just love to write.

 

Website: https://www.caradeewrites.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caradeewrites/

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cara-dee

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaraDeeWrites

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/carawrites/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6936449.Cara_Dee

 

New Release Review ~ SPEED DATING THE BOSS ~ Cowboys & Angels Author Author Sue Brown @SueBrownStories @GayBookPromo

Book Title: Speed Dating the Boss

Author: Sue Brown

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Kanaxa

Genre/s: contemporary M/M Romance, bisexual romance

Length: 62 580 words/204 pages

Release Date: June 26, 2018

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links

Publisher

Universal Amazon Link

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Blurb

Will a mix of privilege and blue collar be a recipe for love… or disaster?

Dan’s pretty satisfied with his job at the working-class bar Cowboys and Angels. He enjoys his simple life, his apartment, and his cat, but he could do without the fights that break out in the bar, his boss’s meddling daughter, Ariel… oh, and a brutal, unrequited crush on his straight alpha boss, Gideon.

When Dan’s friend prepares to tie the knot, everyone insists that Dan needs a date for the wedding. Before he can protest, Ariel arranges a gay speed-dating event at the bar with Gideon as a participant. The unforeseen revelation that Gideon is bisexual raises Dan’s hopes, especially when Gideon announces that he wants to accompany Dan to the wedding. Could Gideon really be interested in Dan?

When Dan needs someone most, Gideon offers his unconditional support, and with genuine commitment, he shows Dan the kind of man he really is. Teaming up to save the wedding from a hungover groom and intolerant parents, can Gideon convince Dan they’re the best match since beer and pizza?

 

Review

I’m partial to an age-gap story with ‘unrequited’ attraction or attraction that is believed to be one-way, especially when, SURPRISE, the feeling is mutual.  This was fun!  It was especially fun when Cowboys & Angels bartender, quasi-manager Dan, was manipulated into finding a date for his best friend’s wedding.  He had never heard of speed dating and it is good that he had no idea what was in store.  We come to know Dan and his motivations, desires and life plan early in the story and it is easy to be a Dan ‘cheerleader’ wishing that he find someone, something more than work.  The problem is that he wants Gideon.  Gideon his boss, older, widower Gideon.  Gideon is still grieving the tragic loss of his wife and young son.  He seems to be immune to Dan’s charms, uninterested, absolutely in the friend zone.  Of course, he would be.  He is straight.  Or so Dan thought.  He had some surprises in store.

Gideon’s spoiled brat of a daughter is an instigator and there is always drama around Ariel.  Scary thought that she is the one planning the speed dating event. No wonder Dan thought it was a joke on him when his crush, Gideon happens to be the last ‘candidates’ in his speed dating adventure.

When I think of speed dating, I think ‘city’ and perhaps a bit ‘metro’.  I don’t think country/biker bar.  This story was my first by this author.  Characters were likable and the reader can’t help but hope for them to figure it out!

Well done!  For me, the best part of this story is anticipation for Book 2, Cris’s story.

Excerpt

“INCOMING!”

At the shout Daniel Collins dropped to the floor. A projectile skimmed the top of his buzz cut and narrowly missed the bottles behind him.

“Quit throwing glasses at me,” he yelled, knowing he was wasting his breath and likely to get smacked in the mouth. It was futile. Everyone was too liquored up to pay any attention to the barmen cowering behind the thick mahogany bar.

That was their usual Friday-night entertainment at their favorite bar. Cowboys and Angels was a long established blue-collar bar, not a place for Wall Street suits or hipsters. Late afternoon, students came in search of jugs of cocktails and cheap beer. They vanished by early evening in search of music and dancing and left behind the construction workers and builders who came for the extensive list of draft beers and a chance to relax. On a Friday night, they’d get paid, arrive at Cowboys and Angels in time for happy hour, and drink with their buddies until closing. A fight was added entertainment. They’d throw punches with random glee, not caring where they connected. Then they’d go home, arms slung around the guy they’d been beating up ten minutes beforehand singing at the top of their voices.

So, Friday night as usual.

“They started early tonight.” Dan’s coworker Bradley ducked as a barstool went flying over their heads to crash into the fridge.

Dan cursed as the stool rebounded and caught him on the cheek. He was convinced he was going to end the evening in the ER, with stitches and a concussion. “Ariel’s in the bar.”

“Where the hell is Gideon? He’s supposed to keep her under control.” Bradley lobbed the stool back over the bar, not caring where it landed. From the pained grunt, he could tell it made contact with someone.

“Get him down here,” Dan ordered.

Arms over his head, Bradley crawled along the bar to the phone and dialed the boss’s number. “Boss, get her out of here now, or you won’t have a bar left.” He nodded at Dan. “He’s on his way.”

That was one of the things Dan appreciated about his boss—no questions, no discussion, just action. His daughter, Ariel, was like that too, except she was normally the center of all the trouble.

Time to shut the fight down before it got out of hand—more out of hand. Dan grabbed the baseball bat tucked behind the bar, sent up a quick prayer that he wasn’t about to get glassed, and got to his feet.

“Stop!” he yelled it at the top of his lungs, honed by years of practice. For a moment the action continued. A bottle crashed by his ear. “Cut it the fuck out,” he yelled again, feeling the sting in his other cheek. “The next person who twitches a muscle gets banned for life.” The occupants of the bar froze as though Dan had hit Pause on the remote control.

“Sorry, Dan.”

He didn’t know who made the muttered apology, and he didn’t care. Nobody moved a muscle. Their attention was fixed on the baseball bat Dan was smacking into one hand. So far Dan had never had to use the bat, and he intended to keep it that way. Dan saw a movement out of the corner of his eye and swung around, bat ready for action. Then he relaxed at the sight of the tall figure. “Boss.”

“Good job,” Gideon drawled.

Dressed in a tight black T-shirt with the blue Cowboy and Angels logo and jeans that molded his ass, he stood like a giant in the middle of the destruction. Originally from Texas, at six foot five, Gideon was two hundred and fifty pounds of solid muscle. Despite being ten years older, he could bench-press Dan—and had—without breaking a sweat. There were men there who made Gideon look small, but they all listened to him. Not for the first time, Dan wished he had Gideon’s physical presence.

Gideon picked his way over the broken glass and tipped-over furniture to arrive at his daughter’s side. He held out his free hand and hauled her off the floor in one smooth move. “Ariel, darlin’, what happened this time?”

Ariel tossed her head and grinned at him. She had no shame. “No idea, Daddy. I was just here for a quiet drink with my friends.” She pointed to the two young men either side of her who stared at Gideon. Both of them wore terrified expressions.

“Darlin’, that’s the biggest pile of horse puckey you told me since the last time you destroyed my bar.” Gideon sounded more resigned than annoyed.

 

About the Author

Cranky middle-aged author with an addiction for coffee, and a passion for romancing two guys. I love my dogs, I love my kids, and I love coffee; in which order very much depends on the time of day.

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New Release Review for BELIEVE: A SKINS NOVEL Author Garrett Leigh @Garrett_Leigh~Award Winning Author/Cover Artist. LAMBDA finalist. EPIC Winner. She. Pan.

BELIEVE

Series: Skins #3

Garrett Leigh

Published June 26, 2018 by Fox Love Press @FoxLovePress @SignalBoostPR

Genre ~ Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, LGBTQ

 

Rhys  The physical connection with Jevon was “like drops of mystical rain after a lifetime of drought”

The Story – (The cover is…..yes)

Flight paramedic Rhys Foster is hooked on adrenaline. By day it’s blood and guts, by night it’s the thrill of the club. With a different face in his bed most nights, he doesn’t have time to be lonely…right?

 

 

Entertainer Jevon Campbell is a play therapist like no other—dancer, magician, acrobat, he brings it all to his global mission to help children in need laugh again. He’s on a rare home visit when he encounters enigmatic Rhys in a London bar.

Their connection is instant, but Rhys fast realizes Jevon’s easy confidence doesn’t stretch as far as the bedroom. He has no idea how mesmerizing he is—how beautiful—and Rhys resolves to show him.

They grow closer, but time isn’t on their side. Rhys seems unable to articulate how he feels, and with Jevon’s imminent departure from the UK hanging over them, their separate commitments could tear them apart forever.

As the days slip by, Rhys must learn to believe he’s worth the happiness Jevon is offering.

My Review –

A stunning story, relevant, timely, and fresh yet emotional and thought-provoking with characters and a storyline made for the big screen.  Although this is a series and best read in order, the reader will have absolutely enjoy each story in this series read as a standalone.  Set in England, London, Whitechapel, and Cornwell to be more specific as well as refugee camps in Aleppo and Greece, the characters are diverse, with human behaviors and influenced by current events.

Rhys is a flight paramedic, one of the most stressful, adrenalin-filled occupations there is.  He is at the top of his game.  Socially, not so much.  He ‘hides’ his unresolved pain from childhood by distancing himself from everyone, family and friends.  Rhys knows that something has to give because he is dissatisfied with his life, especially watching his acquaintances in loving relationships.  Hookups are no longer attractive.  Jevon, a play therapist with dreads and a head wrap and a ‘Brit-Carribean complexion’ who works in refugee camps with children is just about to go leave the gay pub when Rhys notices him and convinces him to stay for a bit.

You will fall in love with Jevon and Rhys and want to spend more time with them and secondary characters, family, and friends.  For me, I think I’ll start in the beginning and revisit old friends from Books 1 & 2,